Two merchant ships deviated from their course in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. They were linked to the same company whose ship was hijacked by the Yemeni Houthis, according to data from maritime traffic monitoring sites and the British maritime security company Ambrey.
On Sunday, Israel said the Houthis had captured a British-owned and Japanese-operated cargo ship in the southern Red Sea, describing the incident as an “Iranian act of terrorism” with implications for international maritime security.
The Houthis, an ally of Tehran, confirmed that have intercepted a vessel in that area but described it as Israeli.
Japan’s government spokesman on Monday confirmed the capture of the Nippon Yusen-operated Galaxy Leader, adding that Japan is reaching out to the Houthis while seeking the help of Saudi, Omani and Iranian authorities to work for the swift release of the ship and its crew .
Two other vessels, also listed as commercially operated by Ray Car Carriers, Glovis Star and Hermes Leaderdiverted their sailing routes on Sunday, the British news agency Ambry reported on Monday.
The Hermes Leader had taken a course south of Nishtun in Yemen when it changed course.
“The vessel continued to sail back to where it came from, making Hambantota, Sri Lanka its new destination,” Ambry reported. “The ship experienced a minimum of four days of downtime and traveled an additional 1,876 nautical miles.”
The Glovis Star drifted for several hours in the Red Sea before continuing its journey, data from the ship-tracking website showed on Monday.
Galaxy Maritime Ltd, which is listed in shipping records as the beneficial owner of the Galaxy Leader, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Houthi leadership last week said that their forces will launch new attacks against Israel and that they can attack Israeli ships in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb Strait.
The US Maritime Administration MARAD said in a statement that the Galaxy Leader was hijacked about 50 miles west of the Houthi-controlled port of Hodeidah, adding that ships should “exercise caution when passing through this area”.
“Yesterday we saw a new precedent – for the first time we saw (an) official announcement about pirates seizing a ship on the high seas, which I think is a great threat to international law and order,” Israeli President Isaac Herzog said in comments on Monday, speaking to Galaxy Leader.
The Ministry of the Interior has confirmed that there are two Bulgarians on board the ship hijacked in the Red Sea
The Home Office also carries out disciplinary investigations into police violence